Honor Flight: First 2017 mission leaving for Washington - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Honor Flight: First 2017 mission leaving for Washington

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Photo from an honor flight in 2016. Photo from an honor flight in 2016.
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

The first mission of 2017 for the Great River Honor Flight program departed from Hannibal LaGrange University early Thursday morning, but their return home was delayed.

The flight back to St. Louis was delayed in Washington, D.C. so the official homecoming celebration for veterans was rescheduled as part of the June 24th flight, which is the next Hannibal mission. 

The mission includes veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The group consists of 30 veterans – two from WWII, 12 from Korea and 16 who served in Vietnam.  

Among the group of veterans are the five Harrison brothers – one who served in Korea and the other four served in Vietnam. They come from Palmyra, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Troy, and Kirksville.

Besides the Harrison brothers, this trip also includes another sets of brothers – the Lesters from the Macomb/Blandinsville/Colchester area and the three members of the Jackson family which represent service during WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

The veterans went to Washington DC along with 26 guardians, many of which were relatives of the veterans.  

This is the 41st mission overall since the program started back in 2010 and will continue to increase the total number of local veterans who have flown to Washington DC for free to over the 1,200 mark.  

The 56 Veterans and their Guardians, after traveling by charter bus to St. Louis Lambert International Airport, board a flight to Baltimore and then on to our nation’s capital.  

The first stop was at the Vietnam Memorial. This stop also included visits to the nearby Korea Way and Lincoln Memorials.

Next on their itinerary was a stop at the World War II Memorial, which sits next to the Washington Monument and where a group picture was taken.

Other stops later included the Iwo Jima Memorial dedicated to that WWII battle and the Marines who fought there.

Next was a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and seeing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The trip ended with a visit to the Air Force Memorial that overlooks the Pentagon and Washington DC where they enjoyed dinner prior to returning to Reagan National for their trip home.  

The direct flight will take them back to St. Louis where they will board a bus for the trip to Hannibal. The expected arrival time will be around 10:30 p.m. at HLGU’s Mabee Sports Complex.

To date Great River Honor Flight, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program has flown 1,196 local Veterans to Washington D.C. since it was established in October of 2009.  

The Great River Honor Flight offers one-day trips to Washington, D.C. for these local heroes at no cost to them.

Great River Honor Flight, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation established in October of 2009, was created solely to honor America’s veterans that live in our area for all they have sacrificed by providing, free of charge, transportation to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.

See the full itinerary here and the list of veterans taking Thursday's flight here.

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